Ancient customs are increasingly entering our lives because they teach us to live in harmony with the baby and the world around us. Recently, they have become more common.
Tunics in ethnic style made of translucent fabric, beads of dried berries around the neck, a carpet under a zebra in the hallway … Ethnic style has long migrated from the Asian steppes and African savannas to our apartments, having won a special niche in the urban space. However, it was liked not only by designers and fashion designers. Modern moms and dads, often without knowing it, every day use the inventions of the indigenous peoples of Africa, India, and the Arctic. Take slings, for least. In our country and in Europe, they appeared not so long ago, and on other continents, they help to raise children for more than one millennium. Today we return again to the well-forgotten old. For the past ten years, we have been accustomed to relying on medical examinations, doctors, and pills for infant care and have ceased to trust our intuition. Meanwhile, the ancient wisdom, which can be gleaned from centuries-old traditions, helps to establish a close emotional connection with the baby.
Diapers were invented by residents of the Northern countries. To warm the baby in the cold winter season, women wrapped children in flaps of fabric and old skirts. In those days, diapers served as clothes for babies, which are now sold in specialized stores.
Today, this tradition is not popular with modern mothers. In France, for example, diapers were branded by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He believed that this barbaric custom was disgusting to nature. In Russia, where children in the last century swaddled the whole country, diapers branded recently. However, the pediatrician of the highest category of the Moscow Perinatal Medical Center Valery Sonnov does not advise to rush to conclusions: “In the first months of life, the child is frightened of his hands simply because he is not aware of them as part of his body. Wrapped in diapers, he is deprived of the opportunity to see them, therefore, there are fewer reasons for excitement. ” Child psychologist Astina Yegoryan also defends diapers: “In a close cocoon of fabric, the baby feels the same as inside his mom’s belly. He feels safe and calms down faster.” American scientists confirm babies wrapped in diapers sleep stronger and longer. In addition, diapers reduce pain with colic, keeping the tummy warm.
Today, pediatricians recommend swaddling in the event that during the first weeks of life the baby does not sleep well and cries for no apparent reason. But the custom of tightly swaddling legs, especially for girls, is not justified by anything – they will not become slimmer from this.
In Mali, women put their babies to their breasts up to 18 times a day, depending on their appetite. In Africa, they continue to be fed milk even when children begin to eat semi-solid and solid foods. In Côte d’Ivoire, a one-and-a-half-year-old and even a two-year-old baby sucks about 10 times a day, weaving meat, fish, or rice during breaks. Both “diet tables” are perfectly combined, and at the same time, the child smoothly and painlessly weans himself from the chest.© Peter Muller/Getty Images/Cultura RF methods of newborn care
The historical homeland of the sling cannot be established. It is only known that in Africa mothers and now carry children behind their backs, in Indonesia – on the hip throughout the day. The baby is close to the chest, and the mother can feed him almost without interruption from household chores. In the conditions of a modern city, mothers use slings less often – only a few hours a day during a walk in the park or at home, when you need to calm the crumbs.
In fact, slings are the same diaper, only adapted for carrying the baby and designed to free the mother’s hands. In India, they were made of sarees, in Russia – from the hem of the dress. At home, the sling can be made from a regular scarf or sheet.
“Slinging is the safest way for a child to carry. It can be used from the first birthday. Intervertebral discs in infants are very delicate and can be easily deformed. The sling helps to protect the baby from such injuries, “says Valery Sonnov. For a parent, this method of carrying is also the most convenient: when wearing a sling, all the muscles of the back are involved, which means that it is easier to carry it than the same kangaroo bag. Caution should be exercised with the latter. “In the “kangaroo” the child sits quite freely, which means that the load on the baby’s spine is quite large. And it’s harmful. Therefore, before 6-8 months, it is impossible to put the baby in a kangaroo bag. “
A special article is the psychological effect of the sling. Previously, it was believed that if you carry a baby in your arms too often, he will grow up capricious. But it’s not. “In a sling, the baby feels the same as in the stomach of his mother – he feels the familiar swaying when walking and the vibration of his mother’s voice. But the main thing is that close tactile and eye contact is established between the baby and the mother. The baby understands that her mother will come to the rescue at any time. It is at these moments that the child forms a basic trust in the world and people, “says Astatine Yegoryan.© Getty Images/PhotoAlto Methods of Newborn Care
Indian women rock babies in a homemade sari cradle, Vietnamese women in a hammock tied to the pedal of an old sewing machine, Armenians on a blanket. In Russia, cradles were traditionally used, but then they were abandoned. The first alarm was sounded by the Europeans. For some reason, they decided that it was bad for the brain. “Theoretically, they can disrupt the work of the vestibular apparatus. On the other hand, the baby’s body quickly gets used to such loads. Therefore, if the child is healthy, there is no reason for excitement, “comments Valery Sonnov. In the old days, motion sickness served as a universal painkiller and hypnotic. Doctors have found that rocking really has a therapeutic effect – relieves colic and regulates the heartbeat.
“It is important to understand whether the baby is comfortable in the bassinet or not. If during pregnancy the mother led an active lifestyle, the baby will most likely like measured rocking. They will remind him of the movements of his mother when walking, which he felt in the womb, “says the psychologist.
In many Western maternity hospitals, bodily contact is used as one of the additional elements of nursing premature babies. Pediatricians spied this custom on marsupial animals and named it after kangaroos – Kangaroo care (care by the method of mother kangaroo). In the north, the Eskimos invented something similar: they still wrap babies in envelopes of fox or seal skin and put them behind the sinus. The goal is to warm both the mother and the baby.
Outside the Arctic, the “mother kangaroo” method was first used in the 1980s in the Colombian capital of Bogotá to reduce mortality among premature babies. Today, it is successfully practiced in some other countries, including the United States and France.
During a body contact session, a naked premature baby weighing from 800 grams to 2 kilograms lies behind the sinus of dad or mom. Stomach to stomach, skin to skin. In the bag of the kangaroo, the constant body temperature of the cub is maintained according to the same principle. And even if this technique is used only as an auxiliary procedure, it showed a high result.© evgenyatamanenko/Getty Images/iStockphoto methods of newborn care
In Africa, Brazil (especially in São Paulo), and even in Japan, children share with their parents not only one room but also one mattress. “The first months of bodily contact with the mother are very important for the child, so he can sleep with his mother if she is so comfortable,” explains Astatine Egoyan. If the child wakes up at night and feels that the mother is near, he calms down faster. But when he begins to grow up, he must have his place in the house: first, a crib, then ideally a separate room. There’s a reason for that.
“The child should not witness the intimate life of parents,” the psychologist continues. – Young children often perceive sex scenes as scenes of violence, because they do not understand what is really happening to their parents. Such a spectacle can greatly traumatize the psyche of a child. “
Baby massage and baby yoga
In some African tribes, massage is a sacred ritual. It is believed that it protects the child from evil spirits. In European countries, the religious subtext has faded, but the custom itself is being revived. Recent studies in this area have confirmed: massage is very useful for premature babies.
Baby massage is reduced to the light stroking of the baby’s hands and legs. The child becomes calmer, because the tension accumulated during the day is relieved, and quickly begins to become aware of his body.
However, baby yoga has nothing to do with a light massage. “It’s a mixture of yoga, chiropractic, and chiropractic. In the classic version, during the session, the master corrects the joints in which the displacement occurred during childbirth. This technique is unique, but do not forget that only a few own it. In Russia, it is still very difficult to find such specialists, “warns Valery Sonnov.